British-based Aussie expatriate, Billy McConnell, is now a hardened road racing professional, but he’s a little anxious heading into the opening round of the World Superbike and Supersport Championship at Phillip Island, next weekend (February 21-23)
The 27-year-old from Adelaide will be making his first appearance in Australia in about a decade when he lines up as a wildcard in the 18 lap world supersport race, and he’s feeling the pressure to perform in front of his home crowd – and an army of family and friends heading over to see Billy in action.
“I am getting a little nervous, but it’s all good as I have been looking to compete at Phillip Island for quite a while now and for it to come to fruition in 2014 is brilliant,” said McConnell.
“We normally we do all our pre-season testing in Spain in preparation for the upcoming British title, but this year it’s all different – and I couldn’t be happier.”
At Phillip Island, McConnell will ride for his Gloucester-based British supersport team on a factory-backed Triumph Daytona 675R, where he will be joined by teammate Graeme Gowland.
Before the world supersport final preparations cranked into top gear, McConnell made a low-key return to Phillip Island at a private test day in January and it was a real eye-opener — or perhaps the opposite.
“It’s just so fast, and after that first session my neck was getting a caning and I could hardly open my eyes – it was my first ride in about three months. I then had some Nurofen and got back into it. It’s such a beautiful place to ride at.
“I got about 40 laps in before I had some engine problems, but I am really looking forward to the race weekend because my team is bringing across a new-spec engine with about five more horsepower.
“The only real drawback is that we won’t have traction control, because we made the decision that there will be so much happening at Phillip Island anyway that it could potentially be counter-productive trying to get it working to its optimum level.
“The world supersport grid is always strong – people go and then others step up. It’s a tough place to be in, but I have finished top 10 before (at Donington in 2012) and I know what to expect.”
McConnell has been a regular in British racing since 2006, finishing in the top three of the supersport title in four of the last five seasons. In 2013, he also competed as a wildcard in both the Silverstone and Donington rounds of world supersport, and crossed the line in 22nd and 19th.
The world supersport field includes 23 permanent riders, and two Australian wildcards – Billy and local, Ryan Taylor from Garfield, 70 km south east of Melbourne.
KIDS** FREE AT PHILLIP ISLAND WORLD SUPERBIKES
Phillip Island’s QBE round of the three day World Superbike Championship is big value, with action and entertainment for all the family. There’s 14 races from six categories on the programme – world championship classes, world superbike and world superpsort, and local classes for Australian superbike/prostock Australian supersport in the Phillip Island Championship, plus historics for the veterans and the MRRDA juniors for 12-16 year olds. In addition, dirt bike action is free for all with FREE ArenaCross happening both Saturday and Sunday on our new dirt track behind Lukey Heights.
Tickets are on sale now for the three day world superbike deal, with bargain deals to be had. A three day pass purchased in advance is just $99* for an adult, with children** 15 and under FREE, if accompanied by a full paying adult. The $99* deal ends next Wednesday, February 19 at 2pm so get it now to secure your family passes. (Three day pass $150 at gate).
Trackside camping is also a bargain $80 per adult, purchased in advance, ($110 at gate) for four nights under the stars. Children 15 and under, accompanied by a full paying adult, are free.
Want the best view in the house? Try BarSBK for $250* for three days (only available in advance) with undercover, licensed viewing areas at three of the circuit’s best viewing areas – Doohan Corner, Siberia and Lukey Heights.
In addition, your world superbike ticket allows you to take advantage of many Phillip Island offers from local attractions, eateries and accommodation houses. Click here for details
*Plus processing and postage fee – $8 per transaction. Our $99 deal and $80 camping deal closes Wednesday February 19 at 2pm AESST.
**Children are classified as 15 and under, accompanied by a full paying adult.
Ffi Ingrid Roepers on mobile 04 111 989 44 or firstname.lastname@example.org